Best Halloween Movie Ever
The best Halloween movie ever made is Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.” I say this because it encompasses everything about Halloween that appeals to me, and shuts out the component that pushes me away from this fall holiday.
I hate horror movies overall because they tie into my panic attack syndrome, which capitalizes on the unexpected in my life, and used to send me reeling. “The Twilight Zone,” “Tales from the Crypt,” and “The Pit and the Pendulum” were already enough to paralyze me with fear, before the whole masked, chainsaw-wielding-murderer genre of horror film came into being.
No set of circumstances in existence, could ever find me watching anything remotely resembling this kind of picture. I am still baffled beyond belief, as to what the attraction is. I felt that way as a ten-year-old, and I am 64 now. Nothing has ever occurred to shed light on this subject.
The first thing TKAM has going for it, is the setting: Halloween, a costume contest and a dark and windy night. Secondly, most of the novel sets the stage for a confrontation between two prevalent themes of prejudice and mental illness.
The most base form of prejudice is laid out in black and white for the reader to examine, with the only conclusion to be drawn being that white prevails over black in the most egregious manner possible. That would be in a court of law, where reason and sanity are supposed to prevail.
Mental illness comes under scrutiny because the novelist focuses on one character with severe issues, and through the kids, allows another form of prejudice to come to light. When this man turns out to be a hero at the end, it becomes obvious that there was no validity to the mean stories that were being told about him for the past two decades, helping to dispel myths about mental illness.
Finally, TKAM is the best Halloween story because it uses the holiday to help people understand just how vile it is, to hate someone or something, for no other reason than a preformed concept of what that person might be like.
Being black does not make a man a rapist, any more than being mentally ill makes a man a monster. However, when people form hasty conclusions, based on prejudice, often reality never comes to light.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” used to be on the core literature list for eighth graders, and in Laytonville, I always found it to be amazingly well-received, despite the challenging vocabulary, and complex themes.
Laytonville middle school students were inordinately capable of getting their collective dander up, and they used to get so indignant as to make me feel there was hope for this generation of rural Americans, after all. In different years we did mock trials, we did reenactments and we always watched the film when we were done hashing through it.
So tomorrow night, when Annie goes down to Ben and Holly’s to watch, er, scary movies, I will stay here and watch “To Kill A Mockingbird” with Dozer, who just so happens to have the best Halloween face mask ever invented.
It’s so good he wears it all year-round.